Dairy Dialog podcast 126: Gemak, The Collective, 108 Labs, Omsco

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

Dairy Dialog podcast 126: Gemak, The Collective, 108 Labs, Omsco
Dairy Dialog podcast 126: Gemak, The Collective, 108 Labs, Omsco

Related tags Yoghurt Yogurt plant based processing Dairy Infant formula Milk Cheese

On the podcast this week we have conversations with Kursat Uysal, Gemak UK and Ciaran Adam, product manager at The Collective; Richard Hampton, managing director of Omsco; and Shayne Giuliano, co-founder and CEO of 108Labs.

We also have our weekly look at the global dairy markets with Liam Fenton at StoneX.

Omsco pleased with US tariff suspension

Omsco was formed in 1994 by five dairy farmers with a shared belief that there was a ‘better way to farm.’

Their collaboration created the UK’s first national pool of organic milk. Now 27 years on, Omsco is owned by over 200 members nationwide, produces more than 50% of the UK’s organic milk and has a global market for its dairy products and ingredients.

It is the largest UK organic dairy cooperative and the second largest dedicated organic milk pool in the world with an annual turnover of around £90m. 

Omsco has established a number of long-term, strategic partnerships with dairy processors including Yeo Valley, Wyke Farms and Organic Valley.  Today, it supplies much of the UK’s organic dairy processing needs, including more than 50% of organic Cheddar sales, and is Britain’s leading exporter of organic cheese, butter, raw milk, whey and specialist ingredients to the EU, US, Australasia and Asia. 

Omsco’s exports to the US

In 2020 the UK exported around 9,300 tonnes of dairy products to the US, worth in the region of £52m, of which Omsco’s organic butter and cheese accounted for around a third.  As such, Omsco is the largest exporter of British dairy products to the US.

In the US, sales of Omsco’s organic butter and butterfat have grown strongly thanks to the ongoing development of its strategic partnership with the leading US organic cooperative, Organic Valley; a partnership that was reinforced during 2020 as Omsco added bulk anhydrous milk fat (AMF) to the products supplied to Organic Valley,

The growth of its partnership with Organic Valley means Omsco is now responsible for the majority of all butter/butterfat exports from the UK to the US.  Both Omsco and Organic Valley see further strong potential for increased retail sales and distribution and in relation to this are working on the development of new retail butter formats, which they expect to launch in the next 12 months.

Despite the introduction of super tariffs in October 2019 on UK cheese being imported into the States, Omsco’s ‘Kingdom Aged Cheddar’ brand has continued to perform well in the US market, where it has been on sale for eight years.

Omsco has also established a partnership with FrieslandCampina to launch a new ‘Organic Kingdom’ branded range of small, pre-packed organic cheeses into the US natural and grocery sectors. 

US suspends ‘super’ tariffs on UK dairy imports

On March 4, the US government announced it would be suspending the additional 25% ‘super’ tariffs it had imposed on imports of a range of UK cheeses (including Cheddar and Stilton) and butter.  These had been in place since October 2019 as part of the ongoing US and EU dispute over state support provided for Airbus/Boeing.

Richard Hampton, managing director of Omsco, said, “This is excellent news for the UK dairy industry and provides a real boost at a time when we are having to respond to challenges ranging from the Covid pandemic to the fall-out from Brexit.  

“We are delighted with this positive step and believe it will provide the necessary confidence amongst US customers and consumers to grow and develop further sales of our high quality British dairy products."

108Labs launches Colostrupedics whole-human infant formula with secretory antibodies

US-based 108Labs has announced the discovery of novel secretory antibody biosynthesis in the development of Colostrupedics whole-human infant formula.

Colostrupedics is the first animal-free infant formula comprising cell-cultured human milk molecules derived from human mammary cell agriculture and formulated with broadly-neutralizing human secretory antibodies.

Since 2013, 108Labs has worked on mammary cell agriculture by developing the first infant formula biosimilar to mother’s milk with secretory antibodies.

First electron micrograph of 108Labs' secretory antibodies

"Whole-human" infant formula is made with human molecules produced with human cells. It is formulated with patent-pending human cell-cultured ingredients comprising complex sugars, probiotic HMO, bioactive human proteins, and calorically-dense human lipids naturally evolved in mothers.

The company said its whole-human infant formula contains a healthier amino-acid pattern, fully human protein sequences, and human oligosaccharides missing from bovine formula.

"After a long journey, it is an exciting day to emerge with such an innovative product vision and major scientific milestones behind us,”​ said Shayne Giuliano, co-founder and CEO of 108Labs.

“108Labs has long dreamed of a day when mothers do not have to compromise on nutritional or antimicrobial benefits when deciding how to feed their newborns. Launching Colostrupedics whole-human infant formula with the world’s first human secretory antibody ingredient is a major step in our mission to replace bovine with healthier whole-human milk worldwide by 2040."

108Labs is running pre-clinical safety and efficacy studies in preparation for infant nutritional trials with 108Labs’ Colostrupedics whole-human infant formula.

Gemak delivers plant-based yogurt during lockdown

Processing equipment company Gemak has designed, manufactured, installed and commissioned a process and packing plant built specifically for the manufacture of plant-based yogurts and other dairy alternatives.

Working with Meadow Foods in the UK over the last two years, Gemak delivered the project on time despite the pandemic. The plant was built to produce The Collective's new range ‘Plant', the UK's first dairy-free, Greek-style yogurt made from a blend of oats, coconut and rice.

Established in 1992, Meadow Foods is the UK's leading supplier of dairy ingredients to the food and drink industry. The new facility comes on the back of a £4m ($5.7m) investment, designed to produce plant-based ingredients in a dedicated, segregated facility.

In January 2021, The Collective launched its first range of plant-based yogurts.

Gemak pot filling machine

At the end of 209, Gemak acquired a new 150,000 sq.ft. installation and assembly factory on top of its existing 200,000 sq.ft. manufacturing plant. The Meadow floor plan and Gemak process equipment and pipework installation was drawn in 3D and fully erected and installed within the Gemak assembly plant, a first in the industry, before it was dismantled and shipped to Meadow Foods. This allowed the installation time to be reduced by eight weeks.

Paul Jackson, strategic projects director of Meadow Foods said, "We are excited to manufacture a range of new plant-based products that extend the strength and depth of our product portfolio. Gemak has been a crucial part of the project allowing us to finish the project on time and on budget by coming up with solutions to eliminate the disruption caused to all by the pandemic and lockdowns.”

The plant-based system includes a dry and wet automatic multi recipe blend, process and preparation unit, pasteurization plant, storage and fermentation unit, an IBC filling station, a Filltech  double indexing, linear, layered yogurt pot-filling line capable of filling two different diameters of pots with auto change over. The raw and pasteurized CIP sets were also supplied as part of the turnkey solution.

The plant will be capable of producing plant-based alternatives to yogurt, drinks, cream, sour cream, soft cheese, milk, custard and other products and ingredients.

Kursat Uysal, Gemak UK and Filltech, said, "This is the first project where due to disruption caused by the pandemic and lockdowns we had to change and adapt our approach to installation by utilizing our new assembly plant to do a full factory installation including full pipe works with ring mains, electrical installation not just for each skid unit but as a whole process plant within our factory floor prior to numbering, dismantling and re assembling on customer's site. We would like to thank Meadow Foods and The Collective for their fast, flexible approach and their trust in Gemak to deliver the whole process and packaging plant."

Ciaran Adam, product manager, The Collective, said, "After two years of tinkering, building and designing we are very proud to finally reveal the first plant-based Greek-style yogurt in the UK made from a blend of oats, coconut and rice in a fully segregated facility.”

The products are packaged in PET tubs made from 100% recycled plastic and are available across the UK at Waitrose, Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda.

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